If you’re Jewish, then you probably know the standard story of the Maccabees: the Greeks were defiling the Second Temple and forbidding Jews to celebrate their holidays, so a bunch of patriots called the Maccabees organized a revolt, purged the Temple, and established an independent Judea.
In fact, it’s a classic case of the winners getting to write history. The fuller story is that under Seleucid rule in Judea, there were internal clashes between the moderates and the fanatics. The moderates wanted to adopt positive features of Hellenistic civilization and integrate them into Jewish culture; the fanatics, of whom the Maccabees were a prime example, wanted a pure Judaic culture. The best modern analogy is of the moderates to Arab liberals who want to adopt positive features of the West like human rights, and of the fanatics to Islamists.
Being a Greek dynasty, the Seleucids were naturally pro-moderate. At one point the fanatics started violating the religious freedom of the moderates, who were tagged as Hellenized Jews. King Antiochus, who already had enough trouble with maintaining his rule and with not enraging the local superpower too much, decided it was a good opportunity to show his power by siding with the moderates and punitively establishing an altar of Zeus in the Temple.
Needless to say, a large contingent of Jews took exception to that, and overthrew him. The Maccabees were key in that overthrow, but even after Judea had reestablished its independence, there was a prolonged civil war between the moderates and the fanatics, which the fanatics eventually won.
The people who canonized the New Testament were a fairly liberal bunch that found loopholes in Mosaic law they used to nullify the most horrendous of commandments. For example, they struck down the commandment to slay any descendant of Amalek, on the grounds that after the Persian conquest it was impossible to tell who was an Amalekite and who wasn’t. In particular, they were progressive enough to exclude the Books of Maccabees from the Bible.
Ironically, Americans who want to appear multicultural try amalgamating Hanukah and Christmas, but neglect Passover entirely. The narrative of Hanukah is one of conservative nationalism that, in a modern analogy, makes the US look like an evil empire; this of Passover is one of freedom from slavery combined with a Puritan belief in the Promised Land – i.e. the same narrative as this of American independence, minus the anti-tax bits. Plus, Passover is far more important in Judaism than Hanukah. Passover is the only holiday that gets a full narrative in the Bible, while Hanukah is one of the two or three that don’t.